RHB Asset Management’s licences for asset management (Type 9), dealing in securities (Type 1) and advising on securities (Type 4) in Hong Kong have been removed last month, according to records from the Securities and Futures Commission.
At the same time, affiliate RHB Capital Hong Kong’s licences to operate in the SAR have also been removed.
The licence removals mark RHB Bank’s official exit from the market, following its announcement in December last year that it has decided to cease to operate in Hong Kong. This includes all the bank’s subsidiaries, including RHB Asset Management and RHB Wealth Management.
RHB AM in Hong Kong received its relevant licences in 2008. Its business is mainly providing discretionary portfolio management services and various fund products to institutions, corporate clients and high net worth individuals in Asia.
In a separate announcement, the bank said that all of its trading platforms and services in Hong Kong stopped on 1 April this year. It advised clients to withdraw or transfer their cash and/or securities by 31 May and that its business cessation date was on 31 July.
Other affected subsidiaries in Hong Kong are RHB Securities, RHB Futures, RHB Finance, RHB Fundamental Capital, and RHB (China) Investment Advisory, according to the announcement.
RHB’s announcement in December cited an “increasingly challenging operating broking environment in Hong Kong”, which has resulted in losses being recorded for RHB’s Hong Kong operations.
Although the announcement was made at the time when Hong Kong faced months of political and social unrest, a Kuala Lumpur-based spokeswoman at RHB Banking Group noted that its Hong Kong operations have already occurred losses in the last few years.
“As a result, and given our lack of scale [in Hong Kong], it is no longer viable for RHB Hong Kong Group to continue its business operations,” she said.
She added that by pulling out of Hong Kong, the bank will refocus its efforts in the Asean markets, which is in line with the group’s overall strategy.
In Malaysia, RHB AM is the fourth largest asset manager, with an AUM of $6.41bn, according to data from Morningstar Direct, which excludes money market funds. The firm also has a presence in Singapore and Indonesia.